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How Virginia drew up, executed the game-winning Beekman three

reece beekman duke
Reece Beekman releases the game-winning three that beat #7 Duke. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Virginia had to call two timeouts with 7.2 seconds left, down two, to get the ball inbounds for a potential game-tying or game-winning shot.

The play call wasn’t Tony Bennett’s. It was assistant coach Jason Williford’s.

“He’s our underneath out-of-bounds coach,” Bennett said after the game, and yeah, that’s pretty detailed, assigning a guy that very specific role.

“I learned that a long time ago when I started. When there’s an underneath out of bounds, it’s a way to give your coaches ownership, and it’s something that, had we lost it would’ve been his fault, not mine. No, just kidding. He studies the other team, and that’s kind of what he specializes in, among other things, so he drew it up,” Bennett said.

The first effort had Kihei Clark as the trigger man, but Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had 7’1” center Mark Williams on the ball, so when Clark had trouble finding an open man, Virginia called its final TO, and went with Reece Beekman as the in-bounds man for the second attempt.

Williford gave the team two play calls, one for a zone defense, one for man.

Beekman said afterwards that the play was designed to get either Clark or Armaan Franklin a shot.

Duke was in man.

The ball went in to Clark, who had 6’10” freshman Paolo Banchero switch onto him.

Williams was on Beekman on the inbounds, then wandered over into the corner with Banchero for a half-hearted effort at a double team of Clark.

“I think having Mark Williams on the ball for them, he kind of got lost,” Beekman said. “So, when I came up, I was just kind of wide open. I didn’t know if Kihei was going to pass it, or if he sees me.”

Clark did see Beekman, who got the pass as Williams retreated back into the lane, where Duke point guard Jeremy Roach was trying to defend Virginia big Kadin Shedrick after getting caught there on a switch.

Williams should have stayed with Beekman.

“It was on me. I lost Beekman,” Williams said. “I should’ve stayed with him off the inbounds, and he got an open look, and he knocked it down. There’s not much more to it. I take full responsibility for it. I let my teammates down.”

Beekman, a 34.9 percent shooter from three coming in, had connected on 12-of-24 from behind the arc in his previous 13 games, dating back to the mid-December loss to Clemson, coming in.

“This is the second time, for the game-winner, seeing me. It’s just another big shot, and I hit it,” Beekman said.

He’d memorably hit the buzzer-beating three to beat Syracuse in the ACC Tournament last March.

Big Shot Beeks.

Virginia, before Beekman’s splash with 1.1 seconds to go, had made just one of its 11 attempts from three.

“I’m glad we were 2-of-12 from three instead of 1-of-12,” Bennett said.

Story by Chris Graham


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